By Tony Adams, Montana Standard

October 9, 2022

The Butte Cobras and Great Falls Americans began their weekend series on Friday night at the Great Falls Ice Plex.

Silas Hughes’ second goal of the game at 27 seconds of overtime lifted Great Falls to a 4-3 win over the Cobras.

Russ Rasmussen put the Americans on the board 1:50 into the game with a goal assisted by Wes Weisenburger and Aidan McCormick.

Luke Schleusner scored at the 5:26 mark, as Tyler Tosch and Nick Bradshaw assisted on the equalizer.

Butte took a 2-1 lead with 9:41 to play in the second period, when Schleusner scored on the power-play, with Bradshaw and Cade Wessman drawing the assists.

Hughes’ first goal came with 7:31 to go in the second frame, as Tyler Sunagel drew the lone assist to tie the game at 2-2.

Both teams lost a man at the 2:04 mark of the third period, as Schleusner and Sunagel dropped the gloves and fought. Each player received five-minute majors and was issued automatic game misconducts.

The Cobras regained the lead at the 7:43 mark of the third period, as Tamer Billman and Patrick Crooks assisted on Micah Williamson’s power-play goal.

Great Falls scored the tying goal with 6:23 left in the third period, as William Fallman scored on the power-play. Alex Leaf and Jace Thompson were credited with assists.

Hughes flew down the left side, cut in front of Butte goaltender Nikolai Wallery, and went five-hole for the winning goal on an assist from Fallman with 4:33 left in overtime.

The Cobras outshot the Americans 45-42.

Josh Koziol went the distance for the Great Falls win, stopping 42-of-45 shots on goal.

Nikolai Wallery drew the loss in his first start of the season for Butte, as he stopped 38-of-42 shots.

Butte went 2-of-4 with the man advantage, while Great Falls converted 1-of-3 opportunities.

The teams shifted to the Butte Community Ice Center for the second game of the weekend home-and-home on Saturday.

Great Falls scored three power-play goals, including two during a seven-minute Butte penalty in the second period to defeat the Cobras, 4-3.

After a smooth first period, the Cobras got into hot water when Drysten Bailey picked up a two-minute minor for elbowing and a five-minute major for kicking. The result was a seven-minute power-play for Great Falls.

At 3:04 into the man advantage, Christian Crutcher popped a rebound behind Butte goaltender Caleb Cross to give the Americans a 1-0 lead. Dawson Bunch picked up the assist on the goal.

With 9:37 left in the second period, Aidan McCormick followed a rebound by the left post and squeezed the puck past Cross down the right leg pad to give Great Falls a 2-0 lead.

Alex Leaf flipped a pass from Tyler Sunagel toward the goal, and Jace Thompson buried the puck in the net to give the Americans a 3-0 lead with 2:52 left in the second period.

Butte answered twice in 46 seconds toward the end of the period.

Cade Wessman fed Bradshaw skating down the slot and blasted a shot past Koziol to cut the margin to two goals with 55 seconds to go in the period.

An errant pass at the blue line was picked up by Butte and started a 3-on-1 breakout. Micah Williamson let go a blast over a diving American defender and off Koziol’s stick into the twine with nine seconds to play in the period to make the score 3-2.

Penalties hurt the Cobras early in the third period, as two minor penalties landed Butte in a short-handed situation.

Fallman, who assisted on the game-winner on Friday night, scored a power-play goal 3:07 into the third period.

Williamson scored with 2:32 to play to give the Cobras some hope. Butte pulled the Cross in the final moments but could not convert as Great Falls won the game and swept the weekend series.

Great Falls outshot Butte in the game, 51-34. The Americans were 3-of-8 on the power-play, and the Cobras were 0-of-3.

Koziol stopped 31-of-34 shots. Cross stopped 47-of-51 shots.

Weekend scoring leaders: Butte-Williamson (three goals), Bradshaw (goal, two assists). Great Falls-Fallman (two goals, two assists), Leaf (four assists), Thompson (goal, two assists).

Goalie performances: Butte-Wallery (38 saves on 42 shots, loss), Cross (47 saves on 51 shots, loss). Great Falls-Koziol (73 saves on 79 shots, two wins).

Power-play: Great Falls 4-of-11, Butte 2-of-7.

Frontier Division standings after weekend play (win-loss-overtime loss- shootout loss): Helena 9-1-0-0 (18 points), Gillette 6-1-0-1 (13 points), Butte 4-4-1-0 (nine points), Great Falls 4-4-0-0 (eight points), Sheridan 3-4-1-0 (seven points), Bozeman 3-6-0-0 (six points), Badlands 2-6-0-0 (four points), Yellowstone 2-6-0-0 (four points).

Next up: Cobras will host Bozeman next Saturday at Butte Community Ice Center at 7:30 p.m. Great Falls will host Yellowstone in a two-game series on Friday and Saturday at the Great Falls Ice Plex.

Story Courtesy: 406 MT Sports: 406MTSports.com: Great Falls wins weekend NA3HL series over Butte (October 9, 2022)